Sunday, February 19, 2012

Kinder Fun

I am honored to be featured in today's local newspaper. Valley Morning Star.
Armando is an excellent writer and could not have captured my story better.


ayala-created-teacher-com


Dina Arevalo/Valley Morning Star
  Kindergarten teacher Michelle Ayala has created a new classroom for her students, their parents, and her colleagues. The tech-savvy teacher at Dr. Rodriguez Elementary School in Harlingen created a blog last year called "Mrs. Ayala's Kinder Fun" to help promote parental involvement and foster a sense of community learning among her peers.


http://www.valleymorningstar.com/articles/ayala-98169-classrooms-michelle.html#.T0CEdBIlU-I.facebook

Michelle Ayala has fun every day in each of her classrooms.
Yes, classrooms. One is real and the other virtual.
Ayala teaches kindergarten at Dr. Rodriguez Elementary in Harlingen, but she also hosts an online blog, “Mrs. Ayala’s Kinder Fun,” which is growing in both size and popularity. She uses Kinder Fun to show what her class is learning and also give and share ideas with parents and other teachers.
The blog, which just celebrated a year on Feb. 10, features plenty of photos, video links, tidbits and tips and was an idea that snowballed into what it is today.
“I saw a blogger on Facebook and my principal sent me the link and I just got hooked,” Ayala said. “Then I started thinking it’d be really cool to have my own blog and website. One night I just got to working and it became an all night project.”
Lessons appearing on the page include recent topics like dental care, arts & crafts and other tips. Photos of students creating and participating in activities give parents a chance to check in on what their child is learning.
“It’s like a classroom journal. I do current events, lesson plans and I mostly share activities,” she said.
Ayala also reviews educational supplies for an online website and features them on her blog, which she says has received good response from her associates.
“It’s been really, really good,” she said of the response. “The teachers I work with collaborate through the blogs. They’re able to log on at school and that’s been the biggest jump since it started. Teachers are becoming more comfortable with technology, which is awesome.”
Ayala, who’s been teaching for over five years total, said support for her and the blog from Harlingen CISD has been helpful to the project.
“I’m really fortunate that here in Harlingen they embrace technology and they encourage me,” she said. “They’re real excited about the blog.”
In addition to the page, Ayala also has a Facebook fan page and Twitter account for Kinder Fun.
“With Facebook, it’s easier to like the page and see what’s going on,” she explained. “You don’t have to be friends with parents on your personal page, but they can be fans of the page and it’s easier access.”
Indeed, a parent can click on the page from a computer or even smart phone and visit the classroom without leaving home or office.
“Now, it’s a little addicting to them,” she said. “They want to see more pictures and they look forward to it all the time.”
Ayala is hoping to attract more readers, especially teachers from across the Valley and state, to participate and offer ideas to enhance the blog. She noted that she’s had teacher participation as far away as Pakistan and is hoping to bring that closer to home.
“I think the next step is collaborating with Valley teachers,” she said. “I don’t know what a kinder teacher in Rio Grande City is teaching. I’d love to see all our Valley teachers collaborating together.”
Log on to www.mrsayalaskinderfun.com to learn more.


By ARMANDO GARZA/Valley Morning Star

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